How Is Small Vessel Ischemia Treated?

Treatment for small vessel ischemia centers around medications to control the condition and prevent a heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic. Surgery usually is not an option for this disease due to the small size of the blood vessels. Patients with small vessel ischemia also undergo frequent medical checkups in order to monitor the disease.

Medications for the treatment of small vessel ischemia include nitroglycerin to treat chest pain and help blood flow to the heart, cholesterol medications, and medications to reduce blood pressure and prevent blood clot formation, according to the American Heart Association. The primary symptom of this disease is chest pain, but other symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, low energy and problems sleeping. It is more common in women and patients with high blood pressure or diabetes. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and a family history of cardiac disease.

The term "small vessel ischemia" refers to the narrowing of the small arteries of the heart, explains Mayo Clinic. This causes chest pain and the other symptoms typical of heart disease but without blockage of the major arteries. It is difficult for doctors to confirm a diagnosis of small vessel disease because the narrowed blood vessels are too small for detection on standard tests for heart disease, says the American Heart Association.